A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!


Visit Expedia…

Expedia is my favorite place to book airfare, and they handle hotels, car rentals, cruises, etc. I like the organization of the site for figuring out what flights I want. Click on the suitcase to take a look.

I was very pleased to win an award for this blog! Even better for you: click through for lists of all sorts of award-winning travel blogs.

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

Tripbase Blog Awards 2009

June 1, 2005 —  Saturday we got the motor home all packed and went around Bernal saying a few goodbyes and doing a little last-minute shopping. When we told one young man we know that we had received our FM-3 visas the day before, he said warmly, “Now you are from here.” It was a nice note to leave on.

We slept in the motorhome that night, the better to get an early start on Sunday morning. I went down to the house about 6:30 AM and said a loving goodbye to Misty, who was full of purrs. Capullo wasn’t around. My vision was a little blurred with tears as I gazed up at La Pena from our patio for the last time. For now.

We pulled out around sunrise and enjoyed light traffic at first. A familiar drive to the freeway, then less than a kilometer on the freeway before taking the cuota (toll) road northwards towards San Luis Potosi. Mexican highway signs often provide challenges, but we got gas on the edge of San Luis Potosi and got good directions around the city. We got onto the periferico all right, taking the southern route around this metropolis of more than half a million. From our maps, we had thought we would take the northern route, but it was clear we were on the right road.

Was it ever ugly. I’ve written a lot about the charms of Mexico but this was as bad as any American industrial blight. I found it even harder to take as there were more shanties than I’d seen in ages, grim reminders of the level of living of the poorest in Mexico. We also passed a number of suburbs of tiny newish houses. They would be much more decent places to live at least.

Between weaving through traffic, not being sure about some turns we took that weren’t signed (though they turned out okay), being depressed by the ugliness and poverty, and already being homesick for Bernal, I had a rough spell for a while. I’ve mentioned before that city traffic has a tendency to overwhelm me (it’s partly a central nervous system condition I have) and this sure happened. I hadn’t taken a tranquilizer, thinking I might be okay without it, but as we left San Luis Potosi, I did. Kelly does the motorhome driving and he was doing okay.

From San Luis Potosi to Zacatecas was the only major stretch of two-lane road on the trip, and there were plenty of slow trucks and Sunday drivers. Once I screamed at Kelly when he started to pass a truck in a situation where I wouldn’t have tried it. He pulled back into our lane instead of passing anyway, which I greatly appreciated.

At least, we were going through lovely scenery at times. We got to Zacatecas and again did okay in finding the periferico. This was a more interesting drive at least, as it wound above the city which has a long shape, set in a valley. Our guide to RV campgrounds listed one that was beyond the city some kilometers, good for getting past Monday morning. It was basically a field next to a Pemex station, with water, sewer, and electric hookups. We didn’t need electricity as our solar panels provided all we needed, but it was good to take long showers and to dump the tanks.

We got there around 3:30PM and could have driven further, but one of the challenges of driving an RV in Mexico is finding secure, level places to camp. We were both tired and frazzled so we just stopped and relaxed. We talked about maybe coming back to Mexico in a different vehicle. Not our Subaru station wagon as Subaru seems to be virtually unknown in Mexico, but an ideal vehicle: good passing ability, good visibility, good miles per gallon, long enough for us to sleep in it at times, and so on. Kelly wondered about one of the newer hybrid gas and electric SUVs. Economical was also on our list, though, so we’ll see!

We had the campground to ourselves. Over dinner we were pronouncing the alphabet in Spanish and couldn’t remember how to say g. So when I went over to the nearby OXO store (like a 7-11), I asked the teenage fellow who was running it, and he recited the alphabet slowly with me following him. G is pronounced like our English word hay.

Kelly and I have long had the habit of asking each other at bedtime what was best in that day. It was easier to think of what was worst on this day, but we try not to go there! What was best had been a couple of long conversations we’d had about our lives together. We’d talked about the three years we lived right on the California coast at Jenner, north a ways from San Francisco. Kelly was living there when we met, a long-haired hippie in a school bus he had permanantly parked and converted to a practical, well-organized home, complete with upright piano. I recalled how impressed I had been with his practical abilities and he said I’d seemed so sophisticated with the world travel I’d done and my Stanford education.

Next we talked about the seven years we lived in an old summer camp near the Russian River. We bought Sunshine Camp with two of Kelly’s sisters and their husbands, using the money from the sale of a sailboat belonging to Molly and George as the down payment. Those had been rich, full, and often oftenwhelming times. I was working much of the time as a librarian and then coming home to the complexities of community living. It was during that era that we had made our first long trip to Mexico, in 1979, when we had gone all over and also spent a month in Guatemala. We rarely talk much about our past but it’s a favorite topic for long trips.

We slept well, even though we were just off the intersection of two major highways. The next morning, we got an early start. I was determined to have a better day.

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